FanDuel NBA: Saturday Value Plays
FanDuel NBA: Saturday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

We have a compact four-game main slate Saturday night, and only two of those games have projected totals over 220 points. However, there will be plenty of big names in action despite the fact there's only eight teams taking the floor overall. The injury report is a mixed bag, as there are a couple of prominent pieces (Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond) in danger of sitting out.

As usual, we'll proceed to break down the positional outlook below, along with possible chalk plays and some likely under-owned bargains that could help you round out your lineups with a couple of superstars.

Before delving into the slate, a reminder that FanDuel has reverted to its previous format of NOT dropping the lowest scoring in lineups after a one-year experiment with that feature. Therefore, it will be important to be prudent with each selection, as each player's total will count toward your final score.

Without further ado, let's take a more comprehensive look at Saturday's slate!

Slate Overview

Here's a closer look at the two games on Saturday's slate with the highest projected total:

Brooklyn Nets at Detroit Pistons (Projected total: 227.5 points)

The Nets and Pistons are ranked right next to each other in terms of points per game allowed (112.0 PPG and 111.0 PPG, respectively). The Nets are also playing at the fifth-fastest pace (106.9 possessions per game), and the two teams combined for 224 points the one previous time they played. Detroit is facing multiple potential absences, but Andre Drummond (mouth) would arguably the only one to truly impact their offensive capability.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves (Projected total: 227.5 points)

The Timberwolves are playing at the second-fastest pace (107.6 possessions per game) and allowing the fifth-most points per game (115.0), including 118.3 over the last three. OKC has allowed 110.1 points per contest on the road as well, and the first two games between these teams have finished with totals of 266 (overtime) and 221 points.

Positional Breakdown

Point guard is one of the positions in the best shape Saturday, as the only injury designation is the probable one that Rajon Rondo sports due to a finger issue. Otherwise, there are strong choices top to bottom, and the good news is there won't be a need to break the bank with Ben Simmons the most expensive option at $9.7K.

Shooting guard is down Josh Richardson (hamstring) and could also be missing both Bruce Brown and Tony Snell due to illnesses, but there's still a very strong top shelf and mid-tier that includes Zach LaVine, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Andrew Wiggins, Spencer Dinwiddie and Dennis Schroder.

Small forward is another position with a clean bill of health in terms of short-term injuries, and there's viable tournament value all the way down to the high $3K range in the form of Joe Harris and Chandler Hutchison (both at $3.9K).

At power forward, we have the possibility of Anthony Davis (back) sitting out, while Lauri Markkanen (pelvis) is out for several weeks. If Davis sits, Kevin Love is the most expensive option in a great matchup at a very reasonable $7.1K, and there's good value down into the mid-$4K level in the form of Thaddeus Young ($4.5K) and Nerlens Noel ($4.4K).

Center is arguably the spot in the most ragged shape. Andre Drummond (mouth) could miss another contest, Joel Embiid (finger) remains out and Steven Adams (ankle) could be in line for another absence as well. Then, DeAndre Jordan (finger) and JaVale McGee (illness) aren't sure propositions to take the court, either. If most or all these questionable designations go the wrong direction, Karl-Anthony Towns ($9.9K) could be the one elite option at the position, while Tristan Thompson and Dwight Howard could be very popular in the mid-tier at $5.8K.

Notable Injury Situations to Monitor

NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written (usually late morning Eastern time), check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.

Anthony Davis, LAL

Davis is considered questionable with the back injury that previously cost him five games. Davis is reportedly still bothered by some soreness, and if he sits, Kyle Kuzma (ankle), who is probable, would likely draw the start at power forward.

Kyle Kuzma, LAL

Kuzma is considered probable with an ankle injury and will potentially draw a spot start at power forward if Anthony Davis (back) misses.

JaVale McGee, LAL

McGee is questionable with an illness that cost him one game.

Rajon Rondo, LAL

Rondo is probable with a finger injury.

DeAndre Jordan, BKN

Jordan is questionable with a finger injury that's already cost him the last three games.

Nicolas Claxton, BKN

Claxton is questionable with a shoulder injury.

Tony Snell, DET

Snell is likely to be considered questionable at best with the illness that cost him Friday's game.

Bruce Brown, DET

Brown is likely to be considered questionable at best with the illness that cost him Friday's game.

Andre Drummond, DET

Drummond is likely to be considered questionable at best with the mouth injury that's cost him the last two games.

Brandon Knight, CLE

Knight will not play due to the knee injury that's already cost him the last four games.

Terrance Ferguson, OKC

Ferguson is likely to be considered questionable at best with a personal matter that's already cost him the last four games.

Steven Adams, OKC

Adams is likely to be considered questionable at best with an ankle injury that's already cost him the last two games.

Abdel Nader, OKC

Nader is likely to be considered questionable at best with the ankle injury that's already cost him six games.

Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Kevin Porter Jr., CLE; Dylan Windler, CLE; Ante Zizic, CLE; Joel Embiid, PHI; Josh Richardson, PHI; Wendell Carter Jr., CHI; Daniel Gafford, CHI; Lauri Markkanen, CHI; Blake Griffin, DET; Luke Kennard, DET; Khyri Thomas, DET; Andre Roberson, OKC; Jake Layman, MIN

Elite Players

There are a trio of five-figure salaries on the Saturday slate, with LeBron James ($10.9K), Anthony Davis ($10.6K) and Andre Drummond ($10.3K) fitting the bill. However, two of those, Davis and Drummond, are both sporting injury designations and could well miss. Therefore, James could end up being the one elite option available.

There are also a couple of other options in the $8K-$9K range capable of offering elite-level production, as Karl-Anthony Towns ($9.9K), Kyrie Irving ($8.7K) and Zach LaVine ($8.6K) all in matchups that could well see them outpace their current salaries. Additionally, due to injuries at center, Towns could be the one elite option available at the position.

Expected Chalk

With the relatively small pool of players Saturday, we could see the chalk spike a bit on some star players, particularly LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma (ankle) if Anthony Davis (back) is ultimately ruled out. Additionally, besides some of the typically popular players, we could see injuries also drive ownership up some on healthy first-unit players in Detroit.

As customary, I've also compiled a list of multiple sub-$6K value plays that should be particularly popular – many of them also due to injuries on their team – and have listed them underneath the next section.

Key and Likely Underowned Values

Reggie Jackson, DET vs. BKN ($4,600)

Jackson has only been back in action for two games following his extended absence, so my hope is he's still flying a bit under the radar. The veteran point guard has excelled over that pair of contests, scoring 36.6 and 31.6 FanDuel points, respectively, and shooting 40.0 percent from three-point range. Jackson drew the start in his most recent contest as well due to Tony Snell's illness, and the latter could well miss again Saturday. Jackson should see at least the 23 minutes he logged in his last game irrespective of the circumstances, and he'll face a Nets team that's ranked in the bottom-10 in offensive efficiency rating (48.6) allowed to backcourts, and that's surrendered the fifth-highest three-point percentage (37.3) to opposing guards as well. Jackson has comfortably outpaced his current salary in each of his first two games back, and given the amount of games he missed earlier in the season, he arguably has much more spring in his step than many of the players he'll go up against.

Coby White, CHI at CLE ($3,900)

White hasn't exactly been impressing on a consistent basis with his fantasy-point tallies of late, which should certainly keep his ownership down, even on a small slate. However, the rookie certainly has the talent to spike his production occasionally, and his price is such that he carries very modest risk. White does have two tallies of more than 20 FanDuel points in his last five games, with one of those (23.1) coming against this same Cavaliers squad a week ago. White has also eclipsed the 30-mark in FanDuel points on multiple occasions this season, an impressive ceiling for his current price. Finally, consider the Cavs have allowed the most FanDuel points per game to point guards (53.5), along with the second-highest offensive efficiency rating (47.8) and third-highest shooting percentage (47.4) to opposing second-unit players.

Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Tristan Thompson, CLE ($5,800); Dwight Howard, LAL ($5,800); Kris Dunn, CHI ($5,500); Christian Wood, DET ($5,100); Kyle Kuzma, PHI ($4,800); Tomas Satoransky, CHI ($4,700); Larry Nance Jr., CLE ($4,600); Markieff Morris, DET ($4,600); Thaddeus Young, CHI ($4,500); Thon Maker, DET ($4,100); Chandler Hutchison, CHI ($3,900)

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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